Disclaimer: what I’m about to say is going to sound completely egocentric. But I assure you, it comes from an entirely self-conscious place, not from one of vanity.
Since moving to Charleston from Boston a few years ago, I’ve found people staring at me with much more frequency than one might expect. I know, I know, you’ve already forgotten my disclaimer. I swear it’s true – walk into a restaurant and BAM! All eyes on me. It’s downright disarming.
At first I thought they were going starry-eyed over my incredibly handsome fella (no exaggeration necessary). But then I started paying closer attention and realized this phenomenon of the eyes occurred just as often when I was alone. I find myself to be a fairly average looking person, of average height and average skin tone. I just couldn’t figure out what it was they found so intriguing. I started panicking; is my hair a mess? Is my skirt tucked into my undies? Is there dog slobber all over my pants? After I added a more strenuous appearance inspection to my daily routine and realized it was still happening, I began to think it must be something about my overall appearance.
Then it hit me. I don’t dress Charleston.
I still dress like I would to work in Boston, or to dinner in San Francisco. That has to be it, right? So I took to polling my co-workers the dreaded question, do I stand out here? To add to my frustration, the answer was mixed. As I sat debating how over-the-top my favorite Jimmy Choos are, one of the girls asked the ultimate question…
What an obvious place to start – that I had completely overlooked. As vain as this might seem, I’ve spent my years perfecting a very personalized wardrobe. I’ve scoured and saved for major shoes only a bold woman might dare to walk in. I spend my days urging others to be dazzling in their choice of accessories – and I mean it. So why on earth was I letting a bunch of strangers make me second guess choices that define not only my style, but my personality?
I am (generally) a confident, successful, outgoing person. How on earth did I get sucked into an utterly teenage-like vortex of self doubt? I don’t know how I got there, but I’ll tell you one thing; never again. I’ll say it loud and proud –
I LOVE BOLD STYLE!
I love my shoes. I love my bags.
I love hair fascinators.
I love spiked python pumps!
I love wearing 4 bangles at once!
I love a brightly hued coat and tights!
I’m more than a little ashamed that I was trying to be something I’m not, that I was trying to blend in. The best dressers are the most inventive ones. Those are the women we remember from history. The people who can meticulously craft a look that is unique to them are the ones we pin up to our inspiration boards – not the women who play it safe. Individuality is as paramount to fashionable dressing.
I swear to you hear and now, with my 6-inch Louboutins as my witness, that I will always follow my own fashion path. And I hope you will too.